2021 Big Berkey Water Filter System Review

Best Gravity Water Filters

Berkey Water Filtration System Review And Insights

One of the most essential items to have for survival is water, not just water but clean water. Enter the Big Berkey Water Filter. You could have all of the food in the world stored up but if you don’t have clean water, you’re not going to make it.

Now we have mentioned the importance of storing water in previous articles but you need to have methods to purify that stored water (outside of boiling). As a side note, I must mention that I am an owner of the Berkey system and there are also other options for water purification. We are going to go on a deep dive of the popular Berkey.

Unfortunately, if you live in the states of California or Iowa, the Big Berkey is banned. It’s hard to believe that a water filtration system is banned in two states and we can go over that later. We will also go over the pros and cons of this water filtration system so you can decide if it is a good fit for you.

Synopsis of The Big Berkey Water Filtration System

The Berkey is a stainless steel container that comes in various sizes and is light enough to where it may be moved around rather easily. Tap water is poured into the top container and it uses gravity to filter the water from the top container through two filter containers into the bottom container. There is a spout at the bottom of the container where purified water is retrieved.

Product Features

Size: The Berkey comes in a variety of sizes to suit the individual needs of their customers. You can get portable Berkeys for travel or hiking or they also have versions that may be used in a home or office. The larger systems hold more filters so that you can filter more rapidly as compared to the smaller sizes. In general this review will apply to all of them as they operate in the same way.

High quality filters: The system comes with two Black Berkey elements and it is optional if you want to get the PF2 fluoride filters as well (this will depend on if you already have fluoride contaminants in your water). The filters have the capability to filtrate a wide spectrum of contaminants in the water and they have been tested in a laboratory that has been approved by the EPA.

The filters have also surpassed the standard of NSF/ANSI standard 53. Berkey holds the claim that they have filtered the longest list of particles ever seen in the water filtration industry, evidently making theirs of the best quality. This means that they also will filter out viruses and pathogenic bacteria, with reduced amounts of heavy metals, some inorganic minerals, and protozoa.

They also make the claim of being able to remove 100% of pathogens from that water that is processed through them without the use of UV light, holding a claim that other filtration systems are unable to boast of.

A major convenience of the system is that there is no need for tubing, making the system portable and easy to move throughout the house.

Stainless steel filtration unit: The Berkey is a very nice stainless steel unit that is made to sit on your countertop. It makes it convenient to place near your sink like I do so that you can easily refill the tank from your faucet when it gets low. It is actually complimentary to my kitchen and is a bragging point to friends and family when they come over.

Why Is The Berkey So Popular?

There is a reason why the Berkey system is so popular and it shouldn’t be a surprise that they are known to be one of the best, if not the best gravity fed water filtration systems on the market. Their claim to fame is that they don’t only filter water (like you would expect from a fridge filter), but it purifies the water.

Probably, the number one reason that so many people love their water filtration system is because of what it can do. It can remove this impressive list: 99.9% chloramine, 99.6% chloride, 99.999% of viruses, pesticides and VOCs, 99.9999% of pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, 99.8% trihalomethanes, chlorine, and 99.9% of pharmaceutical drugs.

Product Assembly

Initially, when I first received my Berkey system, I must admit that I was a little confused. But it didn’t take long to figure out how to put it together and it is rather simple.

Start out by cleaning both the upper and lower containers. Then, take the two Black Berkey filter elements and rinse them on the outside. Then you proceed to prime the inside of the elements one at a time by placing them on your faucet with the rubber gasket for 20 seconds. You should see water beads forming around the exterior of the elements. (You do not need to run the water at full pressure). Just enough to see the water is going through and forming beads on the exterior.

Then you place the two black berkey elements into the upper stainless steel chamber with the filter element facing upwards. Then take the wing nuts and gaskets and secure the filter elements to the upper chamber.

At this point the upper chamber may be placed on top of the lower chamber and your Berkey is almost ready. You will need to fill up the entire upper chamber with water and let it filter through overnight.

After that, dump out the filtered water the next day and your Berkey is ready to go! Don’t forget to follow the directions that come with the system as well. This is just a short summary of the process.


The two Black Berkey filter elements have an estimated lifetime of about 6,000 gallons. After that point, it will be time to replace your filters. I can usually tell when it is time to change the filters because the water will take longer to filtrate. Also, when you start tasting a difference in the water, it may be time for filter replacement.


  • The Berkey is great to have during a power outage, as you can filter practically any kind of water with it and it requires no power to operate.
  • The filter’s lifetime of 6000 gallons makes it cost effective as you should only need to change them once every 6-12 months depending on your water consumption.
  • With its ability to filter out pathogens and so many different contaminants, it is hard to find anything out there like it.
  • The optional ability to be able to filter out fluoride with the PF2 filters. There are not many options for this capability on the market.
  • This works with a well making it easy to filter water if you are on a well system and dont want to buy an expensive water filtration system


  • The rate of filtration can be rather slow to what people may be used to and this is because of the gravity feed design.
  • Frequent cleaning to help keep the flow rate up on the filters. Depending on your water supply you shouldn’t have to do this more than every three to six months.

My Recommendation

I am going to strongly recommend the Berkey water filtration system and even though I may have an ownership bias, I will explain why. My number one reason I recommend this product is because of the raw filtration effectivity of the system. They claim it can filter pond water and I would say that is pretty impressive. On top of that, it is relatively cheap to maintain over the course of a year and comes with a lifetime warranty on the system. You just can’t beat it.

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